Butler (left) has been on Whiz's radar (right) since he came to Arizona in 2007, Image Courtesy of azcentral.com

Keith Butler: Still Playing the Waiting Game with the Steelers


Butler will be returning for his 10th season as the Steelers' LB Coach, Image Courtesy of post-gazette.com

As I discussed in my last post, legendary Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau will be returning to the Steel City in 2012.  In the spirit of continuity and the yearly reading of “T’was the Night Before Christmas” (kudos Dave), the move itself makes sense.

Nevertheless, one of the first things which popped into my head when I read that LeBeau would be back in 2012 was the following: Will longtime Linebackers Coach & “D-Coordinator in Waiting” Keith Butler stay with the organization long enough to realize his chance to assume the Defensive Coordinator role?  Thus, I thought it would be nice to discuss Keith Butler’s career with the Steelers up to this point, why he is an ideal candidate for the job, and his current situation “playing the Waiting Game.”

Keith Butler: A Fantastic Resume (2003-Present):

If you were to list the Top 3 LB Coaches in the League right now, you’d be hard pressed to name two, if not one, that has done a better job than Keith Butler during his 9 seasons with the Steelers.

Butler has helped to develop and hone the skills of some of the N.F.L.’s most feared pass-rushers and overall LB’s during his tenure with the Steelers.  Pro Bowl OLB’s such as Joey Porter and LaMarr Woodley have developed into multiple 10.0+ Sack per season guys.  A former UDFA, OLB James Harrison won the D.P.O.Y. in 2008 and has terrorized opposing QB’s and opponents in general since assuming Porter’s old role in 2007.

Under Butler’s tutelage, late-round picks such as OLB Clark Haggans and ILB Larry Foote have enjoyed a measure of success while realizing their potential with hard work and their overall talent.  Lawrence Timmons made the switch from OLB at Florida State to ILB with the Steelers, and has developed into one of the League’s most complete Linebackers since making the switch in 2008.  Even then-veteran ILB James Farrior enjoyed his best seasons under Butler’s watch and made both of his Pro Bowls during that time.

Butler isn’t done however, and now OLB’s Jason Worilds and Chris Carter, along with ILB Stevenson Sylvester will assume to be the next group of “youngsters” ready to step up with Butler teaching them the “ins and outs” of their respective positions along the way.

The Steelers have always had a tradition of featuring some of the best overall Linebackers on their teams.  And with Butler in charge, the franchise hasn’t missed a step.  Whether they are 1st and 2nd Round studs, Middle Round (3-6) diamonds in the rough, or overlooked late bloomers (7-UDFA), Butler has illustrated a knack to get the most out of his guys and in turn establish himself as one of the best Linebackers Coaches in the League.  This job by Butler hasn’t gone unnoticed, as teams not named the Steelers have showed keen interest in prying Butler away to head their Defenses.

 

Butler’s Job Offers/Declines:

As I have stated before, Butler’s fantastic work in Pittsburgh has put him on the radar of many teams in search of Defensive Coordinators during the past few years.  Yet each and every job offer he has received or been in the running for, Butler has elected to stay with the Steelers and stood by their Front Office which has given him votes of confidence while he has played “The Waiting Game:”

During the 2009 offseason the Miami Dolphins were interested in offering their Defensive Coordinator job to Butler.  A 3-4 team with some solid talent to work with, Butler eventually told Miami “No” when they asked him to run their Defense.  The thought at the time was that Butler was going to be the Steelers’ future Defensive Coordinator when Dick LeBeau finally left.  In fact, the rumor was that the Steelers’ Front Office added a clause in his contract that he would be the “D-Coordinator in Waiting” to keep him on the staff.

While Miami tried to get Butler only once, the Arizona Cardinals have been barking up the “Butler Tree” for years.  With former Steelers coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm in Arizona, Butler’s services have long been sought after by the pair.

Thankfully for the Steelers,  the organization has stood firm with regards to keeping Butler in Pittsburgh.  When the 2010 offseason rolled around, Pittsburgh did not  allow the Cardinals to even interview Butler regarding their vacant D-Coordinator position, and apparently it had something to do with his “D-Coordinator in Waiting” status according to the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers.  And as of right now, it appears that all that stands between Butler and the Defensive Coordinator job is Dick LeBeau.

 

Conclusion:

Jobs in the N.F.L. are never “guaranteed,” and after a number of “meltdowns” and “dumpster fire” performances in the last couple of years due to strategy and other factors, the D-Coordinator job appears to be LeBeau’s for as long as he wants it.

Butler in my opinion though deserves his chance to take the reins in the near future.  He has waited patiently for his opportunity, turned down others, and the franchise itself has apparently given him a “thumbs up” with his “D-Coordinator in Waiting” tag.

Thus, I will look at this situation with LeBeau staying for 2012 from a “glass half-full” perspective, and simply be confident that LeBeau will not overstay his welcome and the well-credentialed Butler will eventually and take over in 2013 or 2014.  Butler knows the organization, can continue to work with the personnel already on the roster while in turn grooming more talent for years to come, and has a vote of confidence from the Front Office based on their supposed commitment to him.  Yet most importantly, you’ve gotta figure that if the guy has waited this long, he might be inclined to play “The Waiting Game” just a bit longer.

 

Now it’s time to hear your thoughts readers: Do you think LeBeau should bow out gracefully and let Butler take over?  Should Butler even be the next Defensive Coordinator?  Who instead should get the job after LeBeau?  Etc..

 

Follow me on Twitter (@DominicDiTolla)

 

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  • SonnyDrysdale

    I don’t think Butler has any guarantees for the job. Eventually Tomlin will go to a 4-3 defense something that he can work with. The Steelers have to develop their offense going forward and I can see them bringing in a replacement for BA very soon

  • SonnyDrysdale

    I don’t think Butler has any guarantees for the job. Eventually Tomlin will go to a 4-3 defense something that he can work with. The Steelers have to develop their offense going forward and I can see them bringing in a replacement for BA very soon

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale The Steelers don’t have a hell of a lot of “true” 4-3 personnel on their team right now. We’ll see in the next couple of drafts whether or not they decide/can acquire players that have experience playing in the Tampa 2/Cover 2 scheme. If Tomlin wanted to go to a 4-3, why wouldn’t he have just fired LeBeau and cleaned house in 2007? Nobody would have blamed him, and everybody would have understood. But this far down the road, after drafting 5 years of 3-4 personnel? It would simply be a waste. I’m not saying that the guys on the Steelers’ roster couldn’t make the move to a new system, I’m just saying there are some in the fanbase (not me) that wouldn’t be patient enough to wait through another 5 years of drafting and player development. And who knows if the move would be successful?

    I personally don’t think it would be prudent at this point to mess with the development of their OLB’s and 5 Technique DE’s they’ve recently drafted. I’m not against the move to a 4-3 per se, it’s just it will take a while to acquire/develop talent (I am willing to wait however). And as we all know, Head Coaches in the N.F.L. aren’t allotted a bunch of time to right the ship. Especially an organization like the Steelers where competing for a Super Bowl year in and year out is the norm.

    As for B.A., you’ll get no argument from me, as the dude should have been fired 4 years ago. Yet Ben likes him, and despite his off the field shenanigans, Ben gets what Ben wants (fairly or unfairly). Hopefully the F.O. will step up to the plate and acquire somebody that understands how to utilize his weapons properly.

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale The Steelers don’t have a hell of a lot of “true” 4-3 personnel on their team right now. We’ll see in the next couple of drafts whether or not they decide/can acquire players that have experience playing in the Tampa 2/Cover 2 scheme. If Tomlin wanted to go to a 4-3, why wouldn’t he have just fired LeBeau and cleaned house in 2007? Nobody would have blamed him, and everybody would have understood. But this far down the road, after drafting 5 years of 3-4 personnel? It would simply be a waste. I’m not saying that the guys on the Steelers’ roster couldn’t make the move to a new system, I’m just saying there are some in the fanbase (not me) that wouldn’t be patient enough to wait through another 5 years of drafting and player development. And who knows if the move would be successful?

    I personally don’t think it would be prudent at this point to mess with the development of their OLB’s and 5 Technique DE’s they’ve recently drafted. I’m not against the move to a 4-3 per se, it’s just it will take a while to acquire/develop talent (I am willing to wait however). And as we all know, Head Coaches in the N.F.L. aren’t allotted a bunch of time to right the ship. Especially an organization like the Steelers where competing for a Super Bowl year in and year out is the norm.

    As for B.A., you’ll get no argument from me, as the dude should have been fired 4 years ago. Yet Ben likes him, and despite his off the field shenanigans, Ben gets what Ben wants (fairly or unfairly). Hopefully the F.O. will step up to the plate and acquire somebody that understands how to utilize his weapons properly.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @DomDiTolla@SonnyDrysdale I have watched football casually for a while so this may seem like an obvious answer but is there any benefits/weaknesses to running a 3-4 or a 4-3 or is it just preference?

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla easier going to 4-3 from 3-4, tackles are more available than OLBs that can rush the passer. I thought the fact that Hampton will be hard to replace and the fact that Tomlin is well experienced in it would make a difference. I don’t know if Lawrence Timmons can handle MLB position in the 4/3. As for Butler taking over I just don’t know what he would do. As long as LeBeau is there it will be 3/4. Thats why it would be important to know just when LeBeau is gonna retire. Carlos it just a matter of personnel and taking advantage of their capabilities.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla Just to let you know the texans went from4-3 to 3-4 this season and it gave them better. But it can work the other way too

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @DomDiTolla@SonnyDrysdale I have watched football casually for a while so this may seem like an obvious answer but is there any benefits/weaknesses to running a 3-4 or a 4-3 or is it just preference?

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla easier going to 4-3 from 3-4, tackles are more available than OLBs that can rush the passer. I thought the fact that Hampton will be hard to replace and the fact that Tomlin is well experienced in it would make a difference. I don’t know if Lawrence Timmons can handle MLB position in the 4/3. As for Butler taking over I just don’t know what he would do. As long as LeBeau is there it will be 3/4. Thats why it would be important to know just when LeBeau is gonna retire. Carlos it just a matter of personnel and taking advantage of their capabilities.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla Just to let you know the texans went from4-3 to 3-4 this season and it gave them better. But it can work the other way too

  • RickHarmon

    Yes I think its time for Lebeau to move on.. Steelers defence was solid when he was in Cincy for 6 years and will remain solid if
    Draft picks continue to be
    on target. Butler knows the system, and personel but so did Wiz so who’s to say..

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla Only Ziggy Hood can play the 1 Tech Tackle spot in a 4-3 scheme. The Steelers will still need to draft a 3 Tech penetrator at the other DT spot a la Warren Sapp, and still will need pass rushing Ends for the rest of their D-Line. Heyward might work at one DE spot but he is a better fit as a 5 Technique Defensive End.

    Woodley is still a mystery to me as to whether he could man the other DE spot. Sure he played DE in college, but his performance dipped this season once he got paid, but he could make the move back to the line. The DE’s in the 4-3 have to bring the heat on the pass rusher and the Steelers have none of those on their roster right now.

    As for the LB’s, Timmons would likely move to one of the OLB spots like he played in college, and the Steelers would have to find a true 4-3 MLB a la Derrick Brooks as well in addition to another OLB to man the other spot.

    Also, what would the Steelers do with their undersized OLB’s like Harrison, Worilds, and Carter? Those are 3 roster spots that have to not only be filled, but those guys will likely find themselves shit outta luck moving to a 4-3. They wouldn’t be able to utilize their skills rushing the passer as OLB’s, and they would be manhandled lining up on the ground as DE’s.

    I think the Secondary would do decent enough, because they play a lot of zone to begin with. Yet even still, the Steelers must prepare for a future without Polamalu and Clark.

    I’m not against any sort of change to the Defense, and if the staff and the F.O. are for moving to a 4-3, I’ll be behind it.

    I just hope those that are crying for it realize it will be a total makeover of the Defense in terms of personnel and it could take a while to actually pay dividends.

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @SonnyDrysdale
    @CarlosCollazo I don’t mind the 3-4 but you need a dominant nose tackle for it to be affective..and active middle linebacker’s. Hampton and Farrior are at the end of the line..except for Woodley,Harrison,and on occasion Keisel the pass rush was awful and that exposed Timmons and Farrior lack of pass cover skills, and lets be honest.. Troy and Ryan were terrible in pass situations this year, especially in 3rd and long. I can blame some of that on Labeau for having them out of position, and some on father time for creeping in. 3-4 or 4-3 its time to make changes.

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo This 2012 Draft has some solid NT prospects (Ta’amu, Poe, Chapman) and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Steelers go after one in the fist 3 Rounds. Whether or not they pursue one in the Draft or via FA will speak volumes about Butler’s status. He is a 3-4 guy, and if the organization drafts a true 0-Technique NT (Big Snack), then they will be going with that Defense for a while.

    Also, part of that reason the Texans did so well was they drafted 5-Technique J.J. Watt and hired Wade Phillips who is one of the best 3-4 D-Coordinators in the League. They had 3-4 personnel on their roster already, they just needed the right coach. The Steelers however would have to do a face-lift of their Defense in terms of personnel and acquiring it. Thus, it would take likely 3 years to get it to be a success as a 4-3 Tampa 2 Scheme (likely because Tomlin helped run it in Tampa and then similarly in Minnesota).

  • DomDiTolla

    @RickHarmon@SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo Pittsburgh just needs to target ILB and NT this offseason and they will be fine. Farrior should have been cut in ’08 and the Steelers should have traded up for Raji in ’09. It bit them in the ass this season, but drafting an ILB like Burfict or Hightower along with an NT of the future will ensure the 3-4 stays solid. LeBeau has been terrible for the past 3 seasons due to his lack of making adjustments when facing real competition.

    This is just like early in the 2000′s when all of the players of the ’90′s moved on and retired or left via Free Agency. The 3-4 stayed intact, and the Steelers just kept drafting players which worked within the scheme.

  • RickHarmon

    Yes I think its time for Lebeau to move on.. Steelers defence was solid when he was in Cincy for 6 years and will remain solid if
    Draft picks continue to be
    on target. Butler knows the system, and personel but so did Wiz so who’s to say..

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla Only Ziggy Hood can play the 1 Tech Tackle spot in a 4-3 scheme. The Steelers will still need to draft a 3 Tech penetrator at the other DT spot a la Warren Sapp, and still will need pass rushing Ends for the rest of their D-Line. Heyward might work at one DE spot but he is a better fit as a 5 Technique Defensive End.

    Woodley is still a mystery to me as to whether he could man the other DE spot. Sure he played DE in college, but his performance dipped this season once he got paid, but he could make the move back to the line. The DE’s in the 4-3 have to bring the heat on the pass rusher and the Steelers have none of those on their roster right now.

    As for the LB’s, Timmons would likely move to one of the OLB spots like he played in college, and the Steelers would have to find a true 4-3 MLB a la Derrick Brooks as well in addition to another OLB to man the other spot.

    Also, what would the Steelers do with their undersized OLB’s like Harrison, Worilds, and Carter? Those are 3 roster spots that have to not only be filled, but those guys will likely find themselves shit outta luck moving to a 4-3. They wouldn’t be able to utilize their skills rushing the passer as OLB’s, and they would be manhandled lining up on the ground as DE’s.

    I think the Secondary would do decent enough, because they play a lot of zone to begin with. Yet even still, the Steelers must prepare for a future without Polamalu and Clark.

    I’m not against any sort of change to the Defense, and if the staff and the F.O. are for moving to a 4-3, I’ll be behind it.

    I just hope those that are crying for it realize it will be a total makeover of the Defense in terms of personnel and it could take a while to actually pay dividends.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @DomDiTolla@RickHarmon@SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo Don’t we need some good CB’s? I mean Ike Taylor and Gay? Come on

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @SonnyDrysdale
    @CarlosCollazo I don’t mind the 3-4 but you need a dominant nose tackle for it to be affective..and active middle linebacker’s. Hampton and Farrior are at the end of the line..except for Woodley,Harrison,and on occasion Keisel the pass rush was awful and that exposed Timmons and Farrior lack of pass cover skills, and lets be honest.. Troy and Ryan were terrible in pass situations this year, especially in 3rd and long. I can blame some of that on Labeau for having them out of position, and some on father time for creeping in. 3-4 or 4-3 its time to make changes.

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo This 2012 Draft has some solid NT prospects (Ta’amu, Poe, Chapman) and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Steelers go after one in the fist 3 Rounds. Whether or not they pursue one in the Draft or via FA will speak volumes about Butler’s status. He is a 3-4 guy, and if the organization drafts a true 0-Technique NT (Big Snack), then they will be going with that Defense for a while.

    Also, part of that reason the Texans did so well was they drafted 5-Technique J.J. Watt and hired Wade Phillips who is one of the best 3-4 D-Coordinators in the League. They had 3-4 personnel on their roster already, they just needed the right coach. The Steelers however would have to do a face-lift of their Defense in terms of personnel and acquiring it. Thus, it would take likely 3 years to get it to be a success as a 4-3 Tampa 2 Scheme (likely because Tomlin helped run it in Tampa and then similarly in Minnesota).

  • DomDiTolla

    @RickHarmon@SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo Pittsburgh just needs to target ILB and NT this offseason and they will be fine. Farrior should have been cut in ’08 and the Steelers should have traded up for Raji in ’09. It bit them in the ass this season, but drafting an ILB like Burfict or Hightower along with an NT of the future will ensure the 3-4 stays solid. LeBeau has been terrible for the past 3 seasons due to his lack of making adjustments when facing real competition.

    This is just like early in the 2000′s when all of the players of the ’90′s moved on and retired or left via Free Agency. The 3-4 stayed intact, and the Steelers just kept drafting players which worked within the scheme.

  • RickHarmon

    @CarlosCollazo
    We haven’t had any true man to man DBs since DJ Johnson Deon Figures and Rod Woodson..that being said, Steelers front office doesn’t spend on big names and that probably wont change any time soon. Ike had a Pro bowl season, and even Gay stepped his game up..even Lewis had his moments but I agree that is still the weak link..

    @DomDiTolla @SonnyDrysdale

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @DomDiTolla@RickHarmon@SonnyDrysdale@CarlosCollazo Don’t we need some good CB’s? I mean Ike Taylor and Gay? Come on

  • RickHarmon

    @CarlosCollazo
    We haven’t had any true man to man DBs since DJ Johnson Deon Figures and Rod Woodson..that being said, Steelers front office doesn’t spend on big names and that probably wont change any time soon. Ike had a Pro bowl season, and even Gay stepped his game up..even Lewis had his moments but I agree that is still the weak link..

    @DomDiTolla @SonnyDrysdale

  • dbuzard

    Tom Bradley played the waiting game at Penn State for years too. It seems to have totally boned him. Kevin Butler is not in that kind of spot with the Steelers but the “in waiting” game can me tricky. I would love to see him running the D.

  • dbuzard

    Tom Bradley played the waiting game at Penn State for years too. It seems to have totally boned him. Kevin Butler is not in that kind of spot with the Steelers but the “in waiting” game can me tricky. I would love to see him running the D.

  • MikeHanes

    @RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla@SonnyDrysdale In typical Steelers fashion, the CB position was addressed over the past several years and the benefits are already being felt…thus the remarkable improvement in pass defense this year. Allen, Lewis, et al have already started to show they are ready to make major contributions. Gay and Ike played well all season, excluding the Denver game. To read too much into one down performance (4 passes, to be specific) would be a major mistake and one this front office isn’t likely to make.

    I thought we could last one more year with age on the D-line, but we died within sight of it this year. Never really getting Woodley and Harrison on the field at the same time was also a killer. Pass rushing is like other positions that require tempo, timing and team work to get it done at our expected level. Playing Timmons out of position most of the year didn’t help either, obviously.

    Expect attention to be paid to both lines in April: I absolutely expect a true NT to be on the short list to target in the first round. I could also see another OG draft pick in the first (a la Simmons, hopefully sans Diabetes). Either way, this team is immediately ready to roll next year, if we can avoid the horrific rash of injuries that we suffered with this year. Just bad luck, darn it.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla They might move Ziggy to NT, then they could draft a DE in the second rd.

    There really arent any good NT worth pick #24. I see them moving up in the first as well

  • MikeHanes

    @RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla@SonnyDrysdale In typical Steelers fashion, the CB position was addressed over the past several years and the benefits are already being felt…thus the remarkable improvement in pass defense this year. Allen, Lewis, et al have already started to show they are ready to make major contributions. Gay and Ike played well all season, excluding the Denver game. To read too much into one down performance (4 passes, to be specific) would be a major mistake and one this front office isn’t likely to make.

    I thought we could last one more year with age on the D-line, but we died within sight of it this year. Never really getting Woodley and Harrison on the field at the same time was also a killer. Pass rushing is like other positions that require tempo, timing and team work to get it done at our expected level. Playing Timmons out of position most of the year didn’t help either, obviously.

    Expect attention to be paid to both lines in April: I absolutely expect a true NT to be on the short list to target in the first round. I could also see another OG draft pick in the first (a la Simmons, hopefully sans Diabetes). Either way, this team is immediately ready to roll next year, if we can avoid the horrific rash of injuries that we suffered with this year. Just bad luck, darn it.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo@DomDiTolla They might move Ziggy to NT, then they could draft a DE in the second rd.

    There really arent any good NT worth pick #24. I see them moving up in the first as well

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo

    Where did you hear that Hood might move to NT? If you really think about it, Ziggy is a bit too small to be a “true” 0-Technique NT in the Steelers’ Defense. He would need to put on at least 30 lbs. to kick inside, and with that weight gain, he could lose a lot of his quickness athleticism. He does have the ability to play the 1 or the 3 Techniques at DT like he did at Mizzou in college. Yet that would only be if the Steelers went to a 4-3 permanently. I could see them drafting another 5-Technique DE to develop in the later Rounds (5-7) to backup Keisel, Hood, and Heyward.

    The Steelers might be able to grab Ta’amu or Poe in Round 2 as their NT of the future. In the First, I would like to see them trade up to get that OG DeCastro from Stanford or stay put and grab either OG/OT’s Osemele from Iowa State or Glenn from Georgia.

    Heck it couldn’t hurt for them to target Burfict from ASU or Hightower from Alabama as ILB’s in Round 1 as well.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @DomDiTolla@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo Ed Bouchette says that is a possibility. He would have to gain only about 10 pounds. Ratleff of Dallas comes to mind

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo

    Where did you hear that Hood might move to NT? If you really think about it, Ziggy is a bit too small to be a “true” 0-Technique NT in the Steelers’ Defense. He would need to put on at least 30 lbs. to kick inside, and with that weight gain, he could lose a lot of his quickness athleticism. He does have the ability to play the 1 or the 3 Techniques at DT like he did at Mizzou in college. Yet that would only be if the Steelers went to a 4-3 permanently. I could see them drafting another 5-Technique DE to develop in the later Rounds (5-7) to backup Keisel, Hood, and Heyward.

    The Steelers might be able to grab Ta’amu or Poe in Round 2 as their NT of the future. In the First, I would like to see them trade up to get that OG DeCastro from Stanford or stay put and grab either OG/OT’s Osemele from Iowa State or Glenn from Georgia.

    Heck it couldn’t hurt for them to target Burfict from ASU or Hightower from Alabama as ILB’s in Round 1 as well.

  • RickHarmon

    I agree about Ziggy being undersized for NT..but he’s more of a run stopper. He’s undersized for DE too.. Pitt needs another
    Aron Smith type even if its just on passing situations. I also agree they lack the personel for a 4-3 defence but I think with what they have now they will still struggle getting to anybody’s QB..they are built to stop the run with the exception of Woodley & Harrison..and even Harrison’s production and health has been in question

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @DomDiTolla@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo Ed Bouchette says that is a possibility. He would have to gain only about 10 pounds. Ratleff of Dallas comes to mind

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@DomDiTolla@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo Hopefully Ziggy can play at least comparable to Ratliff if that’s the decision they decide to go with. It’ll be nice because Ziggy is the best pass-rusher of all the D-Linemen so he could play all three downs if necessary. However, I don’t know if Hood has the type of speed, agility, or success penetrating the Line as an All-Pro like Ratliff. It would be good to get him experience along the whole D-Line though, although a space-eater like Poe is something every 3-4 team needs.

    Yet if anybody can develop a 3-4 DL it’s longtime Coach John Mitchell. Can’t wait to see what they do.

  • RickHarmon

    I agree about Ziggy being undersized for NT..but he’s more of a run stopper. He’s undersized for DE too.. Pitt needs another
    Aron Smith type even if its just on passing situations. I also agree they lack the personel for a 4-3 defence but I think with what they have now they will still struggle getting to anybody’s QB..they are built to stop the run with the exception of Woodley & Harrison..and even Harrison’s production and health has been in question

  • DomDiTolla

    @SonnyDrysdale@DomDiTolla@MikeHanes@RickHarmon@CarlosCollazo Hopefully Ziggy can play at least comparable to Ratliff if that’s the decision they decide to go with. It’ll be nice because Ziggy is the best pass-rusher of all the D-Linemen so he could play all three downs if necessary. However, I don’t know if Hood has the type of speed, agility, or success penetrating the Line as an All-Pro like Ratliff. It would be good to get him experience along the whole D-Line though, although a space-eater like Poe is something every 3-4 team needs.

    Yet if anybody can develop a 3-4 DL it’s longtime Coach John Mitchell. Can’t wait to see what they do.

  • redthomas23

    Keith Butler doesn’t have a contract as of right now and has yet to sign an extension. We’ll see what happens.

  • redthomas23

    Keith Butler doesn’t have a contract as of right now and has yet to sign an extension. We’ll see what happens.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @redthomas23 Did not know that. Interesting I am sure they will sign him. Tomlin on way to Senior bowl. Ben and Ariens to Probowl with wives

  • SonnyDrysdale

    @redthomas23 Did not know that. Interesting I am sure they will sign him. Tomlin on way to Senior bowl. Ben and Ariens to Probowl with wives